Protesters shout slogans as they demonstrate to commemorate the end of a 1994 civil war between South Yemen and North Yemen in Sanaa July 7, 2012. The demonstration was held to commemorate the day in 1994 that government forces from Sanaa stormed Aden at the end of a brief civil war. Aden was the capital of the former South Yemen until unification in 1990. The banner the woman is wearing translates as “Resolving the southern cause is a demand by all advocates of freedom, justice, dignity and equality.” Image Credit: Reuters

Sana’a: Yemen will remain at risk of disintegration as long as the state is unable to exercise its influence on all provinces and cannot address pervasive corruption, local analysts said as the country marks the 24th anniversary of unification day on May 22.

This year’s celebrations come as the country approved turning into a federal state of six regions; four in the north and two in the south.

The National Dialogue Conference (NDC) also endorsed hundreds of recommendations to address the grievances of the southerners, which include giving them half of high positions in the country.

Analysts however say that the main threat to the unification come from a weak government in Sana’a, and not from pro-secession protests in the south.

Jamal Amer, the editor of Al Wasat weekly newspaper, said that the biggest obstacle to implementation of NDC recommendation is the country’s weakening government.

“A government that cannot exercise its influence on the capital will not be able to monitor the regions in future. The federal system was successful in some countries when there were strong [central] governments,” he said.

Yemen has plunged into turmoil since the departure of the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh in late 2011.

Despite the election of a new government, violence escalated and Al Qaida militants cashed in on the situation and seized large swath of land in the south.

The once safe capital has now become the scene of many kidnappings and unidentified drive-by killings.

Abdullah Al Shaibi, a researcher and a writer, told Gulf News that a strong central government would stem any attempt by the semi-autonomous regions to secede.

Al Shaibi thinks that the government should also fight endemic corruption by removing long-standing influential figures who are still in the driving seat since the time of the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

“Challenges like economy, security, and pervasive and rooted corruption, and the absence of state of law and order pose destructive threats to Yemen,” Al Shaibi said.

“There are many forces that create excuses and obstacles to prevent the implementation of the outcomes of the National Dialogue since they think that the recommendations will weaken their positions,”

The Yemeni analysts did not agree with the general notion that the separatist Southern Movement poses number one threat to the unification of the country.

Due to differences and power struggle between leaders of the movement, it is believed that the separatists are not currently able to achieve their goal of once again dividing the country.

“If the Southern Movement had a unified leadership, it would have seceded long time ago or at least pressuring the government to bow to its demands,” Amer said.

Amer said that the government has not done much to convince the southerners to abandon their demand for secession.

“Other than reinstating the pensioners, the government has not returned a confiscated piece of land in the south.”

Amer said, referring to Yemen president’s decision to reinstate thousands of military officers from the south who were dismissed by the former president.

Others like Nabeel Al Sofi, a political commentator, thinks that the poor can revolt against the government if it does not provide them with basic services. Yemen currently suffers from an acute shortage of fuel, disrupted water supplies and long hours of power cuts.

“The challenges that face the country are linked to the people’s needs for life, health, education, security and food,” said Al Sofi.